Monday, September 28, 2020

Drink up! Tapes of past talks on beverages and 25 virtual talks in October

There is no denying it... there are more and more virtual talks about drinks as our Covid lockdown continues. Grog (yes, grog by a Naval museum), beer, whiskey/whisky, gin, cocktails, teas and chocolate. Many talks include recommended  samples - either mailed or picked up locally. And even beer games done museum style (Penn Museum of UPenn). Tapes, then the October talks.

Monday, September 21, 2020

Peach Chutnee, India and Mrs. B. C. Howard

Jane Grant Gilmor Howard (1801-1890) wrote the charity cookbook Fifty Years in a Maryland Kitchen in 1873. This "East India receipt" is spiced with finely chopped garlic, ginger, red chili peppers, mustard seed, salt, cider vinegar, sugar and raisins. She had several family connections to India.

Friday, September 18, 2020

6 series of talks and 90 virtual talks now thro October

There are several interesting food history series in October that I want to bring to your attention. Signup just started for Folger and Newberry libraries "Food and the Book: 1300-1800." A conference next week on "Material Culture of Sugar in Early New England" is at Historic Deerfield. Also the British Library’s "Food Season," "Masterworks of Japanese Tea Culture," and a series by Enfield Shaker Museum. "Food History Seminar" by Institute of Historical Research has 6 talks. Next week a talk on the study and redoing of the 1739 kitchen at Newlin Grist Mills. October already has over 70 talks.

Monday, September 14, 2020

Ideas for local business pair-ups in virtual talks with museums and tour companies

More and more talks provide the option to buy a box of samples (beer, alcohols, tea) or ingredients to make along with the talk. Starting Oc 9, Plimoth Grist Mill (yes, the one with the Mayflower) will have a virtual mill tour then 3 more dates making cornbread, Indian Pudding and pancakes using its cornmeal, which can be picked up or shipped. It is a great way to support small businesses, and small businesses (ie. cheese shop; tea shop) are even presenting virtual talks.

Monday, September 7, 2020

Bacon racks held soap, paper bags of herbs, ropes of onions, rennet and... meat

Bacon or meat racks hung from the ceiling beams in front of hearths in Great Britain. By 1823 "every kitchen" had the racks which were also an "impediment to upright walking." Image from 1758.

Monday, August 31, 2020

Dr. Clarissa F. Dillon - One Cool Colonial series

Clarissa F. Dillon, the authority (she wrote the book!) on 18th century kitchen gardens, is introducing us to unusual plants and their uses in true quarantine fashion - virtually. We get to follow along as she tends her period correct garden at the 1696 Thomas Massey House, see the end results (medicinal, cosmetic, and yes, as food) and delight in Clarissa’s vast knowledge, sharp wit and great sense of fun. She is One Cool Colonial... in 10 minute episodes.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Archive listing of past virtual talks during Covid lockdown

The original calendar post will maintain the current and future virtual talks listing and other materials Calendar of virtual talks. This post is to "archive" all (including not taped) virtual talks on the events list from the past months.  Many talks are not taped, so only a third of the talks have tapes to view and marked in red as Tape. Those which are taped will be placed in the various categories (ie museums, culinary groups, subjects) on the other post... when I have time. 

Monday, August 17, 2020

19th century Naples lemonade stand - shrine

This image, from 1840, shows one of the flamboyant stands in Naples which "look much like the shrines of the Madonna in other Italian cities."  The stands sold "orangeade and lemonade mixed with snow." Complete image, below.

Monday, August 10, 2020

Oral and written history project on foodways during quarantine

The Center for Food and Culture is collecting oral histories and also written answers to online questions (if you prefer) on comfort foodways during the pandemic. Help them... and future researchers... by participating HERE.

Monday, August 3, 2020

17 Freezing Pots, Sorbetieres, Ice Cream Makers & Freezers from 1751 to 1916 in Ice Cream History

The cylindrical sorbetiere and scraper was still sold in 1903.  But in the 1840s models were patented with paddles to churn the cream or milk as it froze. I've put some pictures I've collected of a wide variety of styles of ice cream makers  together to easily compare and contrast. Many of these images, with descriptions, are in future (Walker, Gouffe) or past posts (Fuller HERE) and 5 descriptions in 'Gunter's Tea Shop' with more posts HERE.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Food Day Canada - Aug. 1

Let's show support for our Canadian friends and "Cook like a Canadian" on their #FoodDayCanada. Their catchy "Put Canada on the Menu" with recipes and nice photos are on the official website HERE And remarkably, cooking in a First Nations wooden box.

Monday, July 20, 2020

Lady Baltimore Ice Cream and Spun Sugar Webs

Owen Wister's popular 1906 novel was followed the next year by a Lady Baltimore Cake recipe, and in 1909 the Lady Baltimore Ice Cream appeared. picture of LB cake

Monday, July 13, 2020

World Heritage Sourdough Library

The remarkable Puratos World Heritage Sourdough Library in Belgium was created by the Puratos company to "safeguard the sourdough biodiversity and preserve the sourdough heritage and baking knowledge."  It opened seven years ago.

Monday, July 6, 2020

Strawberry Fritters 1755

If you are able to get large strawberries, this sounds like a delightful recipe to try.  John Nott had a delicious fried beet recipe with a wine batter from 1723, so next year I'll try earlier to find some sturdy strawberries.    

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Free JSTOR

JSTOR - Individual Account - free -100 articles per month through December 31, 2020.  It is a collection of scholarly journals, ebooks, and images. Home page HERE.    Special offer HERE


Constantly updated post on upcoming virtual talks, workshops, etc.  HERE

Monday, June 22, 2020

Fig lemonade

This is a lemonade for hot weather - like Switchel or Shrub - very tart (only 1T or a teaspoon of honey).  Alexis Soyer called it a "Cooling Lemonade" in 1849, and a later cookbook author named it "Picnic Lemonade."  The vivid pink color happens instantly when lemon juice is added to the liquid from boiling the figs and yellow of the lemon peels.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Historic cooking at home - Benjamin Franklin's recipes

The American Philosophical Society, founded in Philadelphia by Benjamin Franklin in 1743, houses his papers, which include recipes in French. The APS “invited scholars, public historians, and chefs with a range of interests to share their reflections on Franklin, his recipes, and the culture of the eighteenth-century Atlantic World over the coming weeks” on their BLOG.  Other sites offer videos or old recipes, below.

Monday, June 8, 2020

A dozen favorite posts from the past

Some of my favorite topics over the last 11 years - from the conical strawberry pottles HERE to the most popular, Snap-apple at Halloween - were easy to list, since they are viewed the most. It was harder not to include many others. I even considered making it a "baker's dozen" ...

Monday, June 1, 2020

Volunteer to transcribe manuscript cookbook recipes

Handwritten documents - recipes, letters - are important for research.  You can help other researchers and libraries from your home computer by transcribing digitized manuscript cookbooks; thus making them easier to read and able to be searched.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Memorial Day - Never forget

Remember those who served... and those still serving to protect us.


John Billings’ Hardtack and Coffee. Boston: 1887

Monday, May 18, 2020

"Food and Disruption" - free online Dublin Gastronomy Symposium

50 peer reviewed papers and wonderfully illustrated talks from 17 countries were presented at the 5th Dublin Gastronomy Symposium (usually held in Ireland).  This online event was free and... terrific!

Monday, May 11, 2020

Muffin Pudding 1826

English Muffins (in this case from Hannah Glasse, changed slightly by Richard Briggs in 1796, made during William Rubel's weekly bread seminar) can be made into a pudding layered with dried cherries. Rundell's 1826 baked version contained brandy and orange-flower water. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

Bees from hive to branch to wooden hive

The bees are out enjoying all the dandelions from all the rain. This 1869 image depicts the "three classes of bees" and how the swarm leaves the beehive to "settle upon a limb" then placed in the wooden box. The author clearly was not allergic, boasting "no protection to face or hands."  Don't try this at home!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Virtual talks, reading & past tapes for quarantine

Hundreds of virtual food history talks, demos, tours and reading materials are free or minimal charge. Over 90 talks in Oct. so far. About a third of the talks are taped  and will continue to be freely available - links further down this post and the past events archive post. If you know of any other activities, please use "contact form" on right.  ENJOY!

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Doctors' house calls and medicine

Doctors attended to the sick in their homes, but according to Rosalie Calvert of Maryland, "he makes us prepare all the remedies."  Many cookbooks during this period included "simple remedies."

Monday, April 6, 2020

White Rabbit Egg Dye for Easter Eggs

Since 1888, White Rabbit has been competing with Paas (founded 1880) packaged egg dyes.  The White Rabbit advertising included colorful graphics and lovely paper dye sheets. These 1899 ads are more colorful than Paas Egg Dye Co's advertising. Their web site is just as colorful and creative.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Mary Randolph and Thomas Jefferson

Mary Randolph Randolph was a distant cousin of Thomas Jefferson, as was her husband; and her brother married Jefferson's daughter.  There were other connections, and several false stories...

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Mothering Sunday - Simnel cakes and furmety

Three weeks before Easter, in the middle of Lent, was Mothering Sunday, Mid-Lent Sunday or in Bury, England - Simnel Sunday. Simnel Cake (boiled then baked), Mothering Buns, Furmity and lamb.  

Monday, March 16, 2020

Saving snow in 18th century Naples for iced drinks and food

Snow instead of ice was used in Naples. The snow was stored in the "cliffs and caverns on the mountain of San Angelo, between Castell-a-Mare and Sorento."  Donkeys carried the snow down to boats then to Naples. The Bourbon kings of Naples felt they had to provide the snow for their subjects drinks or they would revolt.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Olio

Olio was an extravagant stew of many meats, vegetables, herbs and spices served in it's own "close-covered" cooking "olio pot."   Vincent La Chapelle, "Chief Cook" to the Earl of Chesterfield, included three recipes in his 1733 work The Modern Cook - one French Olio and two Spanish.  By the 1860s a Crab Olio was in two Maryland cookbooks - no meat, but crab, eggplant and tomatoes.

Monday, February 24, 2020

Making butter yellow

Winter butter was pale, but was enhanced with carrot juice, marigold, annato, turmeric and even egg yolks for selling in the cities.  "No one in the country will eat colored butter in winter except as the milk colors it."  The taste and color naturally improved when the cows ate grass instead of their winter diet of hay. More on grass butter HERE

Monday, February 17, 2020

Rumford Roaster for sale

How great would it be to own a c200 year old Rumford Roaster!  This Rumford Roaster, made by Elijah Fuller of Salem, was originally in an 18th century house in Peabody MA, and was working into the late 20th century; the home was demolished and the oven was saved and installed in a new house. Again removed and stored, the current owner hopes it will be used and appreciated once again.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Chickens roosting in trees


Although there are many images of chicken ladders in Germany through the centuries, HERE I haven’t seen a chicken ladder going into a tree...until recently.  The photo was taken the first two decades of the 1900s on a farm in southern Monroe County, Pa.  In the few writings about the pros and cons of chickens in trees, only one mentioned to "place something" for the chickens to get to the branches.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Robert Roberts - author, abolitionist, butler

Robert Roberts (c1777-1860) was a free African American who wrote the marvelous The House Servant's Directory in 1827. 

Monday, January 27, 2020

Bitter butter in winter

Without a steady means of refrigeration, butter could be bitter in the winter if (according to 18th and 19th century sources) ... the milk froze then thawed, the cream was not skimmed off the milk in time, uneven turning of the barrel churn... or if the cattle ate ash tree leaves at "Michaelmas time" (Sept. 29).

Monday, January 20, 2020

Hercules Posey - George Washington's celebrity chef - new news

Five years ago I did a post on this gifted slave who escaped to freedom on Washington's birthday and was never found.  Well, now he has been found, but his image is lost.  The striking portrait by Gilbert Stuart was not of Hercules nor by Stuart.  The "toque" was actually a West Indian headdress. Hercules lived and was buried in New York City and he has dates! 1748-1812

Monday, January 6, 2020

The Twelfth Night waffles of Dutch painter Jan Steen

Instead of a Twelfth Night Cake, waffles were among the holiday's foods in the 17th century, painted by Jan Steen (1626-1679). Click on picture to enlarge